Student-athletes should focus on their studies and make sure they stay safe during the Covid-19 lockdown, say Madibaz Sport managers and coaches.
This is the immediate objective for Nelson Mandela University staff and students as they continue to comply with government and university regulations over the coronavirus pandemic.
The managers have also spoken about keeping relatively fit, but emphasised that there should be no pressure on the student-athletes.
Madibaz Sport hockey manager Cheslyn Gie said the situation would have a big impact on their programme, but that their studies should be the main priority.
“When they return they will have to catch up on all the lost time with regards to lectures and tests,” he said. “Our primary goal will be to assist them with their studies first.
“I am also hoping that all our students return in good health.”
Madibaz water polo coach Jono Watkins said the lockdown was a period in which student-athletes should not be put under extra stress.
“It’s essential for students to be well rounded in their academics and sports,” he said.
“I feel it’s important that our water polo players aren’t put under pressure as they’re already anxious about their studies.
“Fortunately all the players understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and we’re confident our students will be healthy and relatively fit after lockdown.”
SPAR Madibaz netball coach Lana Krige said it was an opportunity for players to work on certain areas of their games.
“The girls will not be able to do their shooting sessions, but fitness and strength should be taken care of.”
She added that the lockdown would not have that significant an impact on the SPAR Madibaz team because they had planned to be in recess for 10 of the 21 days.
“My message to the players is to work hard, be creative and enjoy this time to focus on yourself and regather your thoughts after a very busy start to the year.”
Ironically she said the break had provided her with a chance for greater interaction with the players, albeit remotely.
“This has been a time to get to know the girls more personally,” said Krige. “You would think that this would happen when you see them as a team, but then everyone competes for your time.”
The Madibaz SAB Regional League team currently head the log and football manager Mark Tommy said they were geared up to take on closest rivals Bay Tigers if the competition resumed.
However, he added that their main focus at this stage was on the safety and health of the student-athletes.
“For now we’re not too concerned about any permutations in terms of the league,” he said. “We just want to make sure players remain safe and maintain reasonable fitness levels.”
Madibaz Sport cricket manager Sipho Sibande said all cricket competitions had been put on hold from mid-March following a directive from Cricket SA.
“I think we can all agree that we are dealing with the unknown and at this stage our focus is on ensuring that all our members are safe,” he said.
“In terms of planning for competitions and the outcome of leagues, we have not received any communication yet about how things will be decided.”